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Regina Bailey

Turkey Genome Almost Sequenced

By September 10, 2010

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Image: USDA

Researchers have almost completely sequenced the genome for the domesticated turkey. According to researcher Rami Dalloul, "To date, more than 90 percent of the domesticated turkey genome has been sequenced and assembled." Among the genes that have been sequenced are the turkey sex chromosomes, Z and W. In these animals it is the female gamete that determines the sex of an individual. Female gametes can either contain a Z chromosome or a W chromosome. Male gametes contain only the Z chromosome. Females of these species are ZW and males are ZZ.

According to the researchers, thousands of previously unknown bird genes have been sequenced. Sequencing the turkey genome will assist poultry producers and scientists in producing healthier, more disease resistant birds. Understanding certain genetic variations that occur in these animals will help producers to develop favorable breeding strategies that can lead to leaner turkeys with more flavorful meat.

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